Authorities rescue macaques from abusive ‘topeng monyet’ trainer in Jakarta

Screengrab of a monkey trainer abusing a macaque in East Jakarta.
Screengrab of a monkey trainer abusing a macaque in East Jakarta.

Topeng monyet — macaques that are forced to dance by street buskers for the amusement of crowds — have been banned in Jakarta since 2013 but a recent distressing video showing abuse against a monkey may indicate that the practice hasn’t been totally eradicated from the capital.

Recently, a discreetly taken video has gone viral showing a monkey trainer physically abusing the little creature in an East Jakarta slum. The unidentified trainer beat the animal by repeatedly hitting it with a stick and kicking it, with the distressed monkey unable to flee as it had a leash tied around its neck.

The East Jakarta Public Order Agency (Satpol PP) said it received a tip to warn of the abuse yesterday and searched for the monkey trainer this morning.

“We checked at the location, but the culprit was not present, only members of his family were,” East Jakarta Satpol PP head Budhy Novian said today.

Satpol PP managed to rescue five macaques suspected of belonging to the trainer. Based on witness testimonies, it is believed the trainer was prepping the monkeys for topeng monyet shows.

“That’s what the training consists of. Since monkeys are wild animals, [the trainer] was wiping the slate clean in those monkeys, then he could instill in them skills and tricks,” Budhy said.

The five rescued macaques have been sent to South Jakarta’s Ragunan Zoo for rehabilitation.

Related — Unmasked: Topeng monyet may be banned in Jakarta, but dangerous monkey pet trade persists 

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